A long time ago, in Communist Russia, there was a famous weather man named Rudolf. He was a devout communist and always had a 100% accuracy rate for his forecasts of the Russian weather conditions. His people loved him and respected him for his faultless foresight. He was particularly good at predicting rain. One night, despite clear skies, he made the prediction on the 6:00 pm news broadcast that a violent storm was approaching. It would flood the town in which he and his wife lived. He warned the people to take proper precautions and prepare for the worst.
After he arrived home later that evening, his wife met him at the door and started arguing with him that his weather prediction was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard. This time, she said, he had made a terrible mistake. There wasn’t a cloud anywhere within 10 miles of the village. As a matter of fact, that day had been the most beautiful day that the town had ever had and it was quite obvious to everyone it simply wasn’t going to rain. He told her she was to be quiet and listen to him. If he said it was going to rain, IT WAS GOING TO RAIN. He had his entire Russian heritage behind him and he knew what he was talking about. She argued that although he came from a proud heritage, IT STILL WASN’T GOING TO RAIN. They argued back and forth for hours, so much that they went to bed mad at each other. During the night, sure enough, one of the worst rainstorms hit the village the likes of which they had never seen. That morning when Rudolf and his wife arose, they looked out the window and saw all the water that had fallen that night. “See,” said Rudolf, “I told you it was going to rain.” His wife admitted: “Once again your prediction came true. But I want to know, just how can you be accurate, Rudolf? “To which he replied, “You see, Rudolf the Red knows rain dear!”
Well apparently, Rudolf guided Santa safely through the night last night; all the presents from Santa arrived and here we are on Christmas morning. Where did Rudolf come from? We know the legend of Santa Claus came from the real life person Saint Nicholas. We know the reindeers Prancer and Vixen came from Clark Moore’s poem the Night before Christmas, but from where does Rudolf come? Rudolf was developed in 1947 by a copywriter named Robert May for Montgomery Ward department stores. It was a story made up so that Montgomery Ward did not have to pay copyright fees for other stories that they made into the coloring books they gave away at Christmas time.
And of course the Christmas story itself comes from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. We have the story from Luke; we read it about Sunday and yesterday as well. The Angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she would have a baby boy who would be the nation’s and even the world’s Messiah. And then yesterday the reading was about the birth itself and how angels told the shepherds that the Messiah was born. But today’s reading is comparatively rather odd isn’t it? We read “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God”. How is this Gospel reading appropriate for Christmas Day?
John gives us the back story, if you will. Remember that Jesus is the God-man; completely God and completely man. On the human side, as a human he was conceived in 2 or 3 B.C. and his human birth we hear of in Matthew and Luke; but Jesus was also God the Son. And as God the Son, well, that is the story starts quite a bit further back and John tells us that part of the story. In fact, it is this part of the story that makes the story in Matthew and Luke so significant. It is this part of the story that gives the reason for the powerful angels themselves to make the announcement of the birth of the Christ child.
Listen again closely to the Gospel words. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. This is supposed to remind us of Genesis chapter one verse one, “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth.” John goes on to say, “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
That is as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. The eternal Word of God, through which the entire creation came into being, life, light, everything. This is what God sent into the world. This is what created the world, God’s Word, but the world did not know its Creator. This is what He sent to his own people, His Word, but the people rejected this. This Word became flesh, the Word of God became a human, became Jesus and lived among humanity. And people saw him. They saw him grow up and live and interact with other humans. People actually saw God’s Word living and breathing among them. And as John said, “We have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”